Staunton Water Treatment receives Gold Award thanks to dedicated crew

Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 9:30 PM EDT
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STAUNTON, Va. (WVIR) - Staunton has been chasing the Gold Award for Performance Excellence for their water treatment plant for years. Now, they have one, and it’s in no small part because of the dedicated crew that manages things.

The number outside the Staunton’s Water Treatment Plant will soon say “17” for Staunton’s 17 years in a row of accolades for water treatment, but this year is special.

“We’ve been trying for years, and this is the year when it all came together,” said Staunton Public Works Director Jeff Johnston.

The Public Works Department has earned the coveted Gold Award for Performance Excellence from the the Virginia Department of Health for water treatment.

“We have really, really good source water here in Staunton,” said Staunton’s Water Treatment Plant Chief Operator Seth Hoilman. It helps to start with a great product.

“There is no higher praise for us in public works than for people not to think about it and just know that when they go to that tap they’re getting the highest quality drinking water,” said Johnston. This award recognizes the effort that goes into making that happen.

“The big difference is our filter washes have been a lot better this year,” said Hoilman.

“For 12 straight months every filter wash on every shift by every member of the crew met those high standards, and we couldn’t be more proud,” stated Johnston. It required each person to be top of their game for an entire year, despite all sorts of wild cards.

“365 days, a couple of floods, any number of issues with weather, mechanical problems at the plant,” said Johnston. A crew of just six overcame them all.

“We’ve got a crew that pays attention to day-to-day operations and wants to do the best job that they can and is really committed to that,” stated Hoilman.

The Gold Award is proof. It’s recognition for a job well done. “Fantastic, yeah, it’s great,” said Hoilman.

Staunton Receives Gold Award for Water Treatment

The City of Staunton’s Water Treatment Plant received top scores from the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Drinking Water for its performance in 2020.

Post Date: 05/14/2021 1:40 PM

The City of Staunton’s Water Treatment Plant received top scores from the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Drinking Water for its performance in 2020. The Gold Award for Performance Excellence recognizes achieving efficiency and effectiveness goals that go well beyond the regulatory standards.

The facility was awarded six silver awards and 10 bronze awards in previous years; however, this is the first year it has received the highest-level recognition.

“We take pride in ensuring that we’re delivering the best water possible to the community,” said Seth Hoilman, the plant’s chief operator. “Each of our operators understands the trust that the city has placed in them and the importance of what we do.”

The award is a part of the Virginia Optimization Program (VOP) which strives to encourage water treatment facilities to provide water with a quality that exceeds minimum regulatory standards and to operate water systems in an exemplary manner. VOP attempts to accomplish this mission by establishing optimization goals, communicating the goals to the water treatment facilities and measuring performance. Ultimately, the purpose of VOP is to reduce the risks to public health associated with drinking water.

“Seventeen years of continuous recognition is a real testimony to our amazing water treatment team,” stated Jeff Johnston, the director of public works. “But the Gold Award highlights exactly how dedicated they are to their work. It’s awarded on the basis of data collected day after day for the entire year demonstrating that every operator is consistently at the top of their game.”

City Manager Steve Rosenberg announced the award at the City Council regular meeting last night, and later noted the city’s commitment to hiring and training highly qualified staff to service in such critical positions.

“The City of Staunton is committed to safeguarding the safety of the water supply to residents and businesses,” Rosenberg said. “We value the individuals employed to do so and are grateful for their continual efforts to enhance this essential service.”

Each year the facility releases a report that details information about the quality of water treated by the city. The 2020 Annual Drinking Water Quality Report will be posted by the end of June on the city’s website. Additional information can be obtained at or by calling 540.332.3961.

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